What I Miss?

bill_cosby_1978025Sorry folks, a lot of life happened to me in November, but I’m back! And after a succesful NaNoWriMo to boot! That’s right, I won for the third time! (out of ten times trying.) NaNoWriMo takes up a lot of time and energy, plus I had my job to worry about, so I just couldn’t blog. But I came out of November with a whole novel! So I can’t complain. I did it! Thanksgiving, a broken tooth, a sprained hand, and some sort of stomach virus are not going to stop me. 

But so much has happened! If these stories had surfaced at any other time, I would have had a lot to say. But as it was, my words were otherwise engaged. So I thought I’d give my two cents on the big stories I missed in the last thirty days. I’m a little rusty,so be kind. It feels good to be back.

  1. Bill Cosby – Ever since women began coming forward accusing The Cos of sexual assault and rape, I have been wondering where his supporters are. Usually when there is some sort of scandal involving a beloved celebrity (Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods) that celebrity has his famous friends coming out of the woodwork to support them. Not so much with Bill Cosby. Raven-Symone has said to please “leave her out of it.” Whoopie Goldberg said on the view she found some of the stories “questionable”, and singer Jill Scott defended him on Twitter. Most stars have tried to dodge the story by saying things like, “How sad if this is true”. Sad? More like infuriating. These women deserve to at least be heard. If these allegations are true, and dollars to donuts they are, then it is infuriating that this man preyed on women for over thirty years and nobody did anything to stop him. He drugged women and then had sex with them, or touched them. Power and privilege can sometimes make a man into a monster. He shouldn’t get special treatment just because he was a great TV dad and comedian. He is an awful person and should be put away. It’s called serial rape. But famous men often get away with brutality and we end up blaming the victim. I think a full investigation should be made, and if Bill Cosby wants to remain relevant and free, then he should start talking. But his silence is so loud that the only option is to believe the 20+ women and their claims of abuse. Sometimes you have to kill your heroes.
  2. Philae’s Wild Comet Landing – Yep, scientists managed to put a lander on a comet. A comet! The thing used harpoons and everything! I half expected to see Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck emerging from it to help save the earth. Okay, so the mission wasn’t to save the earth, but it was pretty freaking dramatic. It touched down thrice and drifted for nearly two hours before resting on the comet. Now the thing is recharging its batteries and hibernating until it gets closer to the sun. I don’t know what it all means, but I do know that it is wicked cool.

  3. Charles Manson getting married – Who the fuck cares.

  4. Fergusondemonstrators-defy-curfew-fergusonUnfortunately when the news came that there would be no indictment I wasn’t the least bit shocked. I lived in LA during the OJ trial and the riots that followed. This doesn’t feel a bit different. Except that OJ was a famous sports and film figure at the time and used those things to help him legally get away with murder. In Ferguson we have a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed kid and got away with it. It should have been cut and dry. I don’t care what the legal evidence was, the police officer should be behind bars, at least for some period of time. There was no question that he did it. Only a question of self-defence. A murder, even if it was an accident or self-defence, should be punished. The fact the officer is a free man today has sparked nationwide riots. Yes, the facts matter. And no, I was not in the courtroom to hear the facts. But, I do believe some sort of punishment was necessary. And we must also take into account that this wasn’t the first time an unarmed black man has been shot for no good reason. And recently! The the powers that be don’t do something fast, a full revolution is on the horizon.

    But I don’t think taking to the streets and reeking havoc is the right answer. It doesn’t solve anything. I’m all for revolution, but looting, robbing and arson are juvenile. Nobody will take you or your cause seriously if you are damaging property. It’s hard to have sympathy for someone when they are setting fire to a pizzeria. I say, take that anger and turn it into something useful. Take action, but in a civil way. Hell, find a lawyer and sue the city of Ferguson for hate crimes. Now that would be something. If we learned anything at all from Do the Right Thing, it is that letting people get really frustrated about unfair treatment never ends well. Espically for the pizzerias in the neighborhood.

And that’s all I got for now. I promise to be a better blogger until November comes a knockin’ again next year. But until then you can always stop by and say hello. I’ll be here.

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The 20 Coolest Authors. Ever.

Truman CapoteEverybody has their idea of what cool is. It’s a vibe. A feeling you get from someone. Being cool requires one to have a rebellious attitude, be an underdog, or one of societies outliers. Think bikers, but bikers from the 1950’s, not bikers from today. Today’s biker seems violent and rude rather than cool. But you get the idea. Fonzie was cool. Jim Morrison was cool. Wanda Jackson and Peggy Lee were cool. Kermit the Frog is cool. Einstein was cool.

James Blunt is not cool. Kim Kardashian is not cool. Either is Morrissey or Kanye West. David Foster Wallace was not cool. Brent Easton Ellis isn’t either. Writing a “cool” book isn’t what makes you cool. Having the most Twitter followers doesn’t matter either. It’s how you live your life. And obviously how much you like cats.

What follows is a list of who I think are the 20 coolest authors. Ever. I have intentionally listed 10 dudes and 10 ladies because I’m tired of reading lists about literature that do not equally include women. And yes, I am aware that there are more than just twenty super cool authors, and maybe I didn’t pick yours, but these lists take time and effort to create, so I kept the number reasonable. Fee free to add your picks in the comments. Politely.

  1. Truman Capote – Because he gave zero shits about what people thought. He said what he wanted. Wrote what he wanted. Because In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Because he liked cats pre internet. Cool Quote: “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
  2. 50459320Margaret Atwood – Because The Hand Maid’s Tale and Alias Grace. Because she went toe to toe with Norman Mailer on gender issues and came out on top. He said that men were intellectuals first, writers or poets second. Women were not. Atwood pointed out, in a speech, that she had herself attended Harvard, and therefore had “a smear of intellectualism.” Cool quote: “Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
  3. Maurice Sendak – Because Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Because In the Night Kitchen was BANNED in America on account of the little boy in the book is naked and therefore inappropriate for children. ‘Merica! Because he was on The Colbert Report right before he died spreading the message for LGBT equality. Cool quote: “Fuck them is what I say. I hate those e-books. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a shit.”
  4. Joyce Carol Oates – Because she has published over fifty novels exploring themes of gender, violence, race, monsters, and the darker elements of being alive and human. Because she’s been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize three times. Because she writes horror that will keep you sleepless. And because she kind of looks like Shelley Duval and Olive Oyl. Cool quote: “Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.”
  5. ahem2Ernest Hemingway – Because Ernest once took a urinal from his favourite bar and moved it into his own home, arguing that he had “pissed away” so much of his money into the urinal that he owned it. Because he won the Nobel Prize in literature. Because he once caught seven Marlin in one day. Because he loved cats. Cool quote: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
  6. Mary Shelley – Because Frankenstein. Because she hung out with Lord Byron and had picnics with him. Because she wrote the seminal gothic novel. Cool quote: “I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.”
  7. Tom Robbins – Because he has lived an outlaw life. Because he met Charles Manson and told him he wasn’t up to snuff. Because Still Life with Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. Because he was suspected of being the Unibomber. Cool quote: “Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”
  8. Patti Smith Because she’s as good on stage as she is on the page. Because she lived for many years at the epicenter of cool, the Hotel Chelsea in New York City. Because Horses. Because her nickname is “The Godmother of Punk.” Because she co-wrote a play with actor, playwright, and my fantasy Granddad, Sam Shepard. Cool quote: “To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.”
  9. haruki murakami and kittenHaruki Murakami – Because he is 65 and he is a dedicated marathon running Iron Man. Because he loves cats. Because he writes food and music better than anyone else. Because he refuses to write blurbs for the back of novels. Because 1Q84, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore. Cool quote: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
  10. Agatha Christie – Because she was “Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds pretty badass. Because she created the best detective ever, Hercule Poirot. Because she wrote over sixty mysteries and they are all fun. Cool quote: “Any woman can fool a man if she wants to and if he’s in love with her.”
  11. Roald Dahl – Because The BFG. That’s why. Because he didn’t pander to children. Because he wrote dark, funny books which may or may not have a happy ending. Because when I met him as a kid, he was indeed the Big, Friendly Giant. Cool quote: “So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.” 
  12. Zadie Smith – Because she changed her name (as a teen) from Sadie to Zadie because it sounded more exotic, and Sadie means Princess – she didn’t like the association. Because On Beauty. Because she was in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list. Not bad. Because she wears cool turbans. Because she is rumored to be working on a musical of Franz Kafka’s life. Cool quote: “An English Lit degree trains you to be a useless member of the modern world.”
  13. Stephen KingStephen King – Because more of his books have been adapted into films than any other author, so sayeth Guinness Book of Records. Because Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Lisey’s Story and On Writing. Because he survived a near fatal car accident and kept going. Because he writes NY Times book reviews. Because he was in a band called Rock Bottom Remainders with Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Matt Groening, and Scott Turow. Cool quote: “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.”
  14. Octavia E. Butler – Because she was the multiple recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards – the highest praise for science fiction writers. Because she was born and raised in Pasadena, California… just like other cool women like me and Julia Child. Because she attended my alma mater, Pasadena City College for her AA, and eventually moved to Seattle. Because she called herself a hermit, and because I met her and she was awesome. Because Parable of the Sower and Kindred. Cool quote: “Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
  15. John Waters – Duh. He is the epitome of cool. Cool quote: “You should never read just for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid.”
  16. George Elliot – Because she was a badass feminist in Victorian times. Because, like the Brontë sisters, Mary Ann Evans created a pen name so the sexist assholes of the times would take her seriously. Because Middlemarch. Because she had a twenty year-long relationship with a married man. Because she wrote what many say is the greatest novel in the english language. Cool quote: “You may try, but you cannot imagine what it is to have a man’s force of genius in you, and to suffer the slavery of being a girl.” 
  17. 251550_523966377619405_374295507_nMark Twain – Because he was a riverboat pilot. Because his BFF was Nikola Tesla. Because A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Because he loved cats, and played pool with them. Because the awesome Hal Holbrook did a one man show AS him. Cool quote: “One cannot have everything the way he would like it. A man has no business to be depressed by a disappointment, anyway; he ought to make up his mind to get even.”
  18. Ursula K. Le Guin – Because her first name is Ursula. Because she is considered to be the best science fiction writer alive. Because The Dispossessed.Because her books tackle complex subject such as alternative worlds, politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. Because she submitted her first story for publication at age 11. Cool quote: “I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.”
  19. Alexandre Dumas – Because he wrote about the most badass dudes ever, namely The Three Musketeers, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Because he was a world traveler and a ladies man said to have fathered at least seven children from some forty affairs. Because he was a well liked dude of his times described as, “the most generous, large-hearted being in the world. He also was the most delightfully amusing and egotistical creature on the face of the earth. His tongue was like a windmill – once set in motion, you never knew when he would stop, especially if the theme was himself.” Cool quote: “Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures.”
  20. Susan Sontag – Because her nickname was “The Dark Lady”. Because she was admitted to college at age 16, and married her professor two weeks after meeting him. Because her book On Photography (1977) did not contain a single photograph – as specimen or illustration. Favorite quote: “I don’t like America enough to want to live anywhere else except Manhattan. And what I like about Manhattan is that it’s full of foreigners. The America I live in is the America of the cities. The rest is just drive-through.”

The Oscars: Picks, Predictions and What Should Have Been

Lincoln_2012_Teaser_PosterThe Oscars are just around the corner. That means the big wigs at the movie studios are racing around trying to get voters to see their film, remember it and then actually vote for it. The Weinsteins are adept at this kind of thing which is why cute little films like “Shakespeare in Love” and this years “Silver Linings Play Book” swept nominations. It is run a lot like a political campaign – it’s all about who you know, how well you market yourself, and face time. It’s a joke.

The idea that a film gets nominated because it is good is laughable and outdated. It is a popularity contest, pure and simple. How many nominations are there for Best Picture now, like twenty? How is that getting the cream of the crop? And then there is all the talk about snubs. Ugh. Even I can figure this out. It’s just math. There are 9 Best Picture Nominations, and there are only 5 spots for Best Director. So, using simple math I can conclude that there isn’t enough room on the roster for each director of a BP nom to have a spot. The Academy induced its own snubs.

So here I will give you the breakdown of what WILL win, what SHOULD win, and even (when appropriate) what movie was not even nominated that should have been. Ready? The envelope please!

BEST PICTURE: First off, I saw Silver Linings Play Book and… yeah. Really? This? Sure it was cute and all, but Oscar worthy? Certainly not. But I guess I still remember a time when this award was prestigious. Back before Enimem had one. Anyway, just because a film isn’t very good doesn’t mean it won’t win. Remember those Weinsteins? Well, they have been pushing for that little movie to win… and it just might. What will win? Lincoln. The Weinsteins might be good, but DDL is better. This movie was a triumph and deserves the big prize. I just hope Academy voters didn’t give the ballot to their 25-year-old live at home daughter. The surprise here might be ‘Argo’. What should win? Lincoln. I would LOVE to see D’Jango Unchained take the prize, but let’s get real. WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED? The Master. It is far and away a better  film than Silver Linings and Le Mis. And Argo.

BEST ACTOR: Easy. No problem. Who will win? Who should win? Daniel Day-Lewis. No contest. WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED? Doesn’t matter. DANIEL. DAY. LEWIS.

BEST ACTRESS: Jessica-Chastain-Oscars-2012Have you seen this list? How sad! There were so many great female performances out there, how did we get stuck with these? Naomi Watts was a big yawn fest, and as much as I like Jennifer Lawrence, I don’t get why she was nominated. Who will win? The big prize is going to either Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Lawrence. Who should win? Emmanuelle Riva WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED? Marion Cotillard in ‘Rust and Bone’, and Helen Hunt in ‘The Sessions’ – She was nominated for a supporting role, but she deserved a Best nod. And Rachel Weisz in ‘The Deep Blue Sea’. Man, did they get it wrong this year.

SUPPORTING ACTORurl-3This is where it gets tricky. The Academy historically uses this category to give an award to someone who they might have over looked in the past. It’s always a tough category since everyone nominated is talented and deserving, even if they aren’t necessarily “deserving” for that particular year. Who will win? Tommy Lee Jones (See above) Who should win? Phillip Seymour Hoffmann. He was out of this world, crazy good. It’s too bad that Tommy Lee Jones will get an Oscar just for being Tommy Lee Jones. Again. I’d also love to see an upset and watch Christoph Waltz take that statute home. WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED? Albert Brooks in ‘Drive’. I fucking HATED this movie, but I loved Albert Brooks. And he should have gotten a nod. Also, Leo DiCaprio and Javier Bardiem, and Sam Jackson.

SUPPORTING ACTRESSurl-2Like Best Actress, this category is upsetting. My first question is why was Jackie Weaver nominated? She did all of jack and shit in that film. And then there is the media darling Anne Hathaway. I think she did a good job in that whole 35 minutes she had on-screen. Yes, her solo was outstanding, but should we just give Oscars willy nilly like that? I say no. But, that being said Who will win? Anne Hathaway Who should win? Amy Adams (or Helen Hunt) WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED? Anne Dowd in Compliance, Maggie Smith in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM – I LOVE watching animated movies. They make me really happy.  I have seen all of these films with the exception of ‘Pirates! Band of Misfits’ but it ain’t gonna win, so I’ll get to it later. But this is a tight race, and a tough one to call. All of the nominated films are fun, funny and entertaining. What will win? Frankenweenie or ParaNorman What should win? Any of them. They are all good films.

BEST DIRECTOR – Before you start yelling “SNUB!” let me reiterate, there are only 5 spots in this category, and 9 spots in Best Picture. Get it? Good. Onwards. Who will win? Steven Spielberg Who should win? Steven Spielberg Who should have been nominated? For starters Quentin Tarantino. Kathryn Bigelow. Ben Afleck.

The 5 Best Shows You Aren’t Watching

I don’t own a television. I haven’t owned one since 2005. It’s not that I don’t like T.V shows, it’s that I don’t like having to pay cable companies in order to watch them. So I don’t. I watch the shows I like on-line. That way I can keep up with American Idol, Downton Abbey and The Biggest Loser commercial free, cable free, and hell, just free! It also makes me very mindful of what I watch. I can’t just turn it on and see “what’s on”. I have to make a conscious decision to watch television. After I decide what I want to watch (if anything) I have to find it online, and then stream it. It’s still super fast and easy, but I don’t end up wasting time on crap TV like The Real Housewives of Who the Fuck Cares, or Zooey Deschanel in “The Zaney Adventures of a 33-year-old Woman Desperately Trying to Convince the World and Herself that she is 25… Which is also a rip off of Three’s Company”… or whatever it’s called.

You can stream all of these shows on-line. Or on TV or whatever you do to watch shows.

  1. Anthony Bourdain: The Layover (The Travel channel) – url-2Take Anthony Bourdain, give him a film crew and a 24 hour layover in a cool city and see what happens. It’s awesome. It not only inspires you to check out new places in a city you might already know (or live in!), but you get to feel super cool if he talks about one of your favorite places. He spends time talking to locals about their favorite spots to take visitors. He asks cab drivers where to get the best street food. He gets wasted at a tiki lounge with another chef. It’s all very good fun. Check it out.
  2. Shameless (Showtime)????????????????????You think you have a fucked up family? This show (starring William H. Macy as “Frank Gallagher”. The world’s worst, and I mean WORST, alcoholic/drug abusing father. Ever.) gives dysfunction a whole new name. And that name is Gallager. But this show isn’t for the faint of heart, or folks who can’t stand to hear toddlers drop the F-bomb. And that’s saying nothing about the nudity, violence, barf inducing filth or, graphic sex scenes between any number of people of any varied race, gender, age or sexual orientations. I’ll just say there is an awesome lack of dignity in this show, and I love it. It’s funny, over the top, and even sweet at times.
  3. Louie (FX) – This show is like walking inside Louie CK’s mind. It’s funny, sweet, sad and often times uncomfortable. Louie tackles every subject you can think of: kids, single fathers, drinking, working, sloth, dating, assholes, pizza, crazy people, New York City, religion… You get the picture. If you are not a fan of Louis CK yet, then you haven’t watched this show.  Here’s a little bit. 
  4. King of the Nerds (TBS)22588_001_0358_R (1)That’s right, NERDS! It’s a reality based game show that pits nerd against nerd in wacky nerd based challenges like life-size chess, and live gaming. They all live together in “Nerdvana” and compete to see who will sit atop the Throne of Games! I know! Of course there are some totally hate-able and obnoxious freaks who you hope get voted away quickly, but the show also has contestants who work for NASA and are brain surgeons and shit like that. It’s a show that let’s the “nerds” show off their unique talents and show us that they are more than just characters in a silly movie. Speaking of which, the show is hosted by Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine. If you don’t know who they are, then you don’t deserve to be called a nerd.
  5. The Taste (ABC)la-dd-the-taste-recap-20130129-001Yes, another cooking game show. I know. But this is my first! I never got into Top Chef, and I occasionally check out Iron Chef, but nothing solid. This show has a twist. Four “Mentors” blind taste each contestants food and judge it purely on taste. With ONE BITE. Only. They don’t know if it is a man or woman, pro chef or home chef – they just get one bite, and that’s it. Only after they vote do they see who cooked it. It’s pretty good fun. It made me both hungry and want to cook, so that’s good. And the “mentors” are Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, Anthony Bourdain and Brian Malarkey. The banter is good, the food looks good and the competition is fierce.

Things I’m Loving, Right Now

In order to restore balance to the blogosphere, here is the list of things I am crazy about right now. You can see the list of stuff I am SO over – here.

  1.  ICE CREAM – I must have missed good ice cream more than I realized because I can’t stop eating it. Yes they have ice cream in Prague. But truth be told, most of it is pretty shitty. America is the land of outlandish, yet delicious ice cream flavors. If Ben & Jerry still owned and operated their business, I would write them a big Thank You card. Their flavors are amazing. I have had Red Velvet Cake ice cream, Creme Brulee ice cream, Boston Cream Pie ice cream, and even ice cream with chocolate covered potato chip balls. The Texas owned and operated Blue Bell Ice Cream is pretty good as well, and I have tried a few other brands I have enjoyed, but nothing even comes close to B&J’s. I only allow myself only one pint a week (shared with my fella) so that I don’t become like one of the natives. The last thing I need is to be confused with a Texan.
  2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami I am a member of The Cult of Murakami. I have read all of his books and I have enjoyed each and every last one of them. His latest (and longest) novel is just as badass. I can’t put it down. I read it on my lunch breaks and before going to sleep. I read on the weekend and I read during the kids nap time. This book is close to 1000 pages and I already know I am going to miss it when it ends. It’s the story of an assassin, a world with two moons, a ghost writer and of course a mysterious young girl. Fans of Murakami will love this, and folks new to him will see what all the fuss is about. He didn’t win the Pulitzer for literature this year, but he was nominated.
  3. BakingMy Dr. Pepper CupcakesEach week when Friday rolls around I begin to think about which type of treat I will make over the weekend. It has become sort of an obsession with me. So far I have baked Chocolate Dr. Pepper Cupcakes, Snikerdoodles, Peanut Butter Chocolate – Peanut Butter Chip cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. The next item to tackle will be lasagna. I’m giving my sweet tooth a break this week.
  4. SPELLTOWER – Spelltower is a word finding game. I first played it on my boyfriend’s iphone. I played it for about four consecutive hours, and then bought it for my MAC. If you like word searches, then this game is for you. You compete only against your own high score, so there is no real way to “win” or so my boyfriend keeps telling me. I feel like if I bust my high score then I win. I like winning.

Promote What You Love

There is a new phrase sweeping the interweb. I saw it eight times today on Facebook, and then again when I went into my email. It is one of those goody goody, mushy mush mush things that I usually laugh at and make fun of. Here it is: “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” I get it. People want you to be more positive. People want you to focus on the good rather than the bad. And while bashing stupid stuff is far more fun and entertaining, I understand the need for positivity.

So, in the interest of being positive, I’m on board. I’ll give it a shot. I’m ready to put my money where my mouth is. Or at least put my “money” where my mouth is. I don’t have any money, but if I did I would totally put it on my face. I now give you my shameless endorsement – my promotions if you will – of things I love.

  1. EQUAL RIGHTS – If there is one thing in the world I love, it is equal rights. It is common sense really. Women, men, gay folks, minorities… we should all be treated the same because we are. We are all people. We all have feelings. We all want someone to love, and we all want tax breaks.
  2. KITTENS – I am pretty sure that kittens don’t really need more promotion, they have Youtube. But hell. I love kittens. 
  3. OBAMAI have made no secret of the fact that I am a big time supporter of the US President. Sure, he has made some mistakes, but we all have. And I still love him. He’s smart, funny, and he seems like an all around swell guy. He has shown a willingness to work WITH rather than against, and that is something that Romney, hell the entire Republican party can’t claim.He also doesn’t want to take away my rights as a woman. He wants ALL PEOPLE to have the right to get married, serve in the military, see a doctor, and vote. That’s enough for me.
  4. TRUTH – It might be hard to take at time, and even ugly but it is always a good thing. I promote truth at all times. I don’t like “sparing” peoples feelings or sugar coating anything. If you want to know what I think about anything from politics to how you look in those new jeans, I’m gonna tell you the honest truth. If you didn’t want to know, then you shouldn’t have asked. I don’t think being offended is the worst thing in the world, and I think more folks need to learn how to handle it. Being offended is part of life, be upset and move on. If hearing the truth upsets you, don’t get mad at the truth. Instead, look at yourself and ask why it made you so upset. Chances are its your own doing.
  5. BACONI’ve been a fan of bacon for years. In Prague I would ask my kids, “What’s Alicia’s favorite animal?” and they would all yell “PIG!”. When I would say “Why?” they would respond with “Because it tastes good!” I know bacon is ultra trendy right now, and they have bacon flavored everything, but that doesn’t make my love for bacon any less genuine. It smells good. It tastes good. It is bacon. Love it.

5 Freaks who Inspired Me

I had a truly inspired underwear dance party last night. My mood was great, partially due to the awesome mix I had made, and partially due to the.. uh… mood enhancement I was partaking of. As I sipped my IPA, and got down with my bad self I was forced to realize that the super cool chick I had become was the direct result of being exposed to the right Freaks in my formative years. Without the Freaks, I might have ended up a boring, normal woman who thinks that creativity begins and ends with scrapbooking.

I want to give props to the brave people who paved the way for me to be the me I am. Without their total lack of concern for what society thinks about them, I might be a sheep.

1. Edward GoreyWhen I think of my childhood, I see it in Gorey pictures. One of my favorite books as a kid was “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” – the alphabet book for the rest of us. Nothing against the good Dr. Seuss, but I was far more attracted to the macabre rhymes and drawings in Mr. Gorey’s world. In my world, A is for Amy Alicia who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears… Oh,and the man loved cats, which is awesome.

2. Klaus Nomi – Without Klaus Nomi there would be no Lady Gaga, no David Byrne, Katy Perry or maybe even Madonna. Klaus Nomi took being weird and made it into a career. I have always admired his courage and strength a little more than his music, if I am going to be perfectly honest. Yeah, the man had a (literally) amazing vocal range, but some of his stuff doesn’t do it for me. But that isn’t the point of his music. If you are just listening to Nomi, then you don’t get it. He was one of those rare creatures who knew he was born to stardom, which unfortunately means he was to lead a very sad, and isolated life. But he lived it. His alien persona, his baked goods, and his beautiful arias serve as a reminder to me not to be afraid of being different. Espically if being different is being myself. 

3. Truman CapoteCapote was both one of the most hated and celebrated men of his time – while he was alive. People desperately wanted to know him, and be part of his inner circle. But once they got there, they were shocked at the pure meanness they saw in him. And that’s the irony, I guess. People KNEW what type of man he was, but still wanted to be near him. I find that fascinating. Don’t be surprised when a shark bites. But he was a talented man, a genius writer, and a walking, talking scene. Being around Capote meant you had made it. Much like Nomi, Capote was a sad man who lived and died very much alone. Sometimes fame is a lonely place, but for some it is worth the price. Capote is directly responsible for me wanting to become a writer.

4. Oingo Boingo – With obvious influences from Mr. Nomi, Oingo Boingo took new wave music and added drama and edge. I love it. If you don’t know of Boingo, you know of its founder and front man Danny Elfman – who is awesome and weird in his own right. I heard of “The Mystical Knights of the Oingo Boingo” when I saw the film “The Forbidden Zone” the awesome cult movie starring the band, and Herve Villechaize. It is weird, uncomfortable, funny and so totally different that you can’t help but enjoy yourself. I still have a crush on Danny Elfman’s voice and they are often the soundtrack to my underwear dance parties. But, I like weird. 

5. Ann Magnuson You probably don’t know who she is, and that’s ok. You might recognize her face from TV shows like “Anything But Love” or maybe from “Desperately Seeking Susan”, or possibly as the front woman for the band “Vulcan Death Grip”. Or maybe not. I have had a crush on her since I can remember. I actually got to see her do a live performance back in LA oh so many years ago. She is a cool performance artist and actress who is so smart I am kind of afraid of her. But she isn’t afraid. And that is why I admire her so much. You can have your premeditated Lady Gaga with her stylists and team of experts. I’ll take Ann Magnuson.

* SUPER PROPS to David Byrne, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Warhol, and Gonzo the Great, as well. There just isn’t enough time in the day to honour you all. 

10 Things I think are Cool – Right Now

A few of you have made comments, or sent emails to me accusing me of “hating” everything, and asking why I always seem to find the negative in everything. While I take offense at the mere idea of me actually hating everything (see the tab on this blog called “My Favorite Things“? Yeah, that’s a big list of shit I DON’T hate…) I will admit to being down on a lot of stuff I see lately. Maybe it’s the reverse culture shock. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of stuff is stupid and deserving of harsh criticism. Or maybe it’s the fact that most of you seem to enjoy my critical posts… a lot. Whatever. To appease the masses, here is a list of 10 Things I think are Cool… RIGHT NOW.

1. This Guy

2. American Ninja Warrior: If you haven’t seen this, get ready to be wowed. These guys and gals are super badass, and compete in the world’s most difficult obstacle course. It’s so hard that no American has ever completed it. One Japanese dude did it last year. The Olympics have nothing on this. Check it out. 

3. Major corporations backing Gay Rights/Marriage Equality: This is a no brainer. I think more companies need to come out of the closet and start speaking out for civil rights. For those of you who think the whole “Chick-Fil-A” thing was a little much, think about it like this. What if the owner of said restaurant had made the same statement – except instead of gays he was talking about minorities. Would that be alright? No, it wouldn’t. It’s no different from the civil rights movement of the 60’s. We need to stand up for ALL people, not just the people who look like us, act like us, and go to the same church as us. Would you eat a restaurant that forced black people sit in a separate section, or claimed that it supported segregation? Of course you wouldn’t. So don’t support places that are anti-gay. It’s the same thing.

4. Breaking Bad:  If you are not watching this show you are missing out on some awesome television. Screw “Game of Thrones”. If I want to see battles and kings and small folk, I’ll just watch LOTR. Watching Walt (Bryan Cranston) feed his ego and his greed gets better and better with each episode.

5. MILKSHAKES:  I don’t know if it’s because the Czech Republic is severely lacking in milkshakes, but I can’t seem to get enough of them. Actually, the Czech’s don’t really know how to make them properly. Most places don’t even use ice cream – just milk. Nope! The better the ice cream, the better the milkshake. So far I have enjoyed a strawberry shake, a vanilla shake, and an extremely delicious espresso-chocolate-something shake. I don’t know what all was in there but it was divine. Do yourself a favor and have a milkshake today. You’ll be glad you did.

6. The Obamas:  Just so that there is absolutely NO confusion here, I am a Obama supporter. Has he been perfect? No. But I bet you aren’t perfect at work either. All in all I think he is a stand up guy who is trying his darndest to point America in the right direction. And I adore Michelle Obama. How can you not? She is smart, sassy, sexy, funny and totally down to earth. The best part about them is unlike other Presidential couples, these two people seem to actually like and LOVE each other! That’s the best example a President could possibly set.

7. Toddlers & Tiaras: As both my boyfriend and former flatmate can attest to, I love this show. I love everything about it. I love the crazy moms and dads. I love the crazy kids who may or may not enjoy getting dolled up for a beauty contest. I love the way the show edits Mommy telling the camera what an angel her little girl is while showing footage of that little angel screaming her lungs out. This show should be watched by all parents as a “What Not To Do” example. And I have to say, I feel really awesome about the way I live my life each time I watch this show. 

8. This Aphttp://www.unbaby.me/ It takes all those pesky baby pictures from FB and replaces them with pictures of cats – or whatever you want. YAY!

9. Hamburgers:  I have a theory. When you live in Prague for long enough you just convince yourself that the food you are eating actually tastes better than it does. Prague is a great city for a lot of things, but food just isn’t one of them. As much as the foodie culture is trying to catch on in the CZ, it never will. Why? Because Czech’s don’t really give a shit about good food. It wasn’t until I had a hamburger at Beaver’s in Houston that I realized I had been lying to myself for the last six years. I missed GOOD hamburgers.

10. Goats: Specifically goats screaming funny things. My friend rachel and I have spent several hours watching youtube videos of animals doing funny things, but none are ever as funny as the goats. Watch this video twice and listen for the second goat. 

Things I Find Funny

Luis C.K., Richard Pryor, Parks and Recreation, THIS video, The Golden Girls, Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, South Park, The Simpsons, Hepburn & Tracey, George & Gracie, Lucy & Ricky, Lucy & Ethel.

When people tell you about their horrible flight as if they are the first and only people to sit next to a screaming kid for 12 hours, when news casters are obviously trying not to laugh, 

Bob & Bing, 40 Year Old Virgin, my boyfriend when he makes fart sounds every time someone bends over on a T.V show, people who wear Crocs and say “Don’t judge me…”, Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Amy Poehler, The Muppets, watching drunk girls yell “This is my SONG!”, Peter Sellers , Mark Twain, Danny Kaye, “Elders React” videos, This website 

Racing pigs, Baby Monkey riding on a pig and the catchy song and video that go wth it, when people say “That’s SO interesting…” and then change the subject, Chuck Jones cartoons, Maude, All in the Family, Three’s Company, Don Knotts, kittens

“Study” Abroad programs, girls who order “diet” rum and coke, poetry jams, watching kids hear another kid fart, Niki Minaj

Snoop Dogg, Tina Fey, Wes Anderson, Ben Stiller, slow claps, goth kids day at Disneyland, fetish kids, hipster kidsButters, Ron Swanson, people who get really mad during board games, blooper reels, Mommie Dearest, Groundhog Day, Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks, Ice T on Law & Order SVU, Chris Meloni in “White Hot American Summer” 

The Weather Girls singing “It’s Raining Men”, Morrissey’s voice, the fact that The Insane Clown Posse are evangelical Christians, Sarah Palin, animals on surfboards, when Jason Segel sings a Dracula Rock Opera in “Forgeting Sarah Marshall”, puns, socks and sandals.

All things Christopher Guest related, Mockumentaries, the term “loose slots”, Nickelback, “Flight of the Conchords”, people who are overly sensitive about The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Grateful Dead or Bob Dylan,  ladies who use the word “Daddy” on their boyfriend or husband, men who spend more time on their hair than in the shower, Jane Lynch, Will Ferrell, Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld, These comedians talking about what is funny, this kitten

Reruns of 90210, Tori Spelling, Werner Herzog talking about a chicken, Family Guy, Myrna Loy & William Powell, when Miley Cyrus says “I’m just being Miley” in one of her own songs, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis movies, Tim Meadows, Tina Fey, and this video… 

No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree.

I think I have always had a deep rooted desire to be like one of those cool eccentrics you see in film. Someone who lives life just a little outside the lines. Someone who paints wild pictures, or has hobbies like making macaroni art or fashioning clothes out of found hats. Not some pseudo eccentric like “Juno”, but someone truly odd. People like you see in John Waters movies. Someone like Annie Potts “Iona” in Pretty In Pink. Come to think of it, after seeing that movie as an impressionable youth, I hung records from my ceiling. I even sacrificed my favorite single (David Bowie’s “Blue Jean”) because the record was actually BLUE. And it looked mighty cool hanging there, if I do say so myself. I think I wanted to be a mix of Little Edie, Maude from Harold and Maude, Holly Golightly, Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Cher in… um… maybe just Cher, and of course Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka. And Amelie. I identified with Amelie because I too enjoy the sound of a spoon on a creme brulee and I have always had a thing for garden gnomes. After seeing Amelie I went directly to Super Cuts and got my hair cut like hers.

But there was always something a little dark and morose about ll of these characters. I’m not talking an average dark side here folks, I am talking some serious mental disorders. If most of these characters were real people, they would be classified as insane. (Sorry Little Edie. I love ya, but the truth is the truth) So what does that say about me? I hope not a whole hell of a lot. I have been told that I am a little crazy before, and that I am quirky – but I don’t think I fit the bill for a manic depressive prostitute whose best friend is a nameless cat. I just like the romance of it all.

Me as Little Edie

So I started looking at myself as if i were a character in a movie. A movie that was directed by the Coen Brothers, PT Anderson or Quentin Tarantino. Anyway, when looking at myself from the outside I think I might understand the crazy comments. Maybe. Its hard to look at yourself through someone else’s lenses. I have been with me my whole life, so I don’t find myself odd. At all. Until someone points out something. Something like – I had a shrine to Bruce Willis in my bedroom. I used a friends camcorder to make Gothic horror movies, and “dubbed” Kung Fu movies in my back yard. Maybe these things are not really strange and I am just a little shy about disclosing the real oddities of my personality. Who knows.

I guess in my own little way I am eccentric – or crazy – as some people like to say. But really, who isn’t? I am a little opinionated and I say what I think. I don’t care what people say about me. (Unless I respect them, which leave a small handful of people). I talk to myself and I sing when I feel like singing. I live Prague because I feel comfortable here. I eat popcorn for dinner and I talk to my stuffed dog. I dance in the rain and I sing in the shower.

As Popeye said… Iyam what Iyam.

And so are you.