Hurray for Capitalism!!

So, inspired by my recent post The EVENT, I was inspired to make artwork… and then turn that artwork into merch.

Check this out!!! (It’s less fuzzy in real life…)

Now, I don’t plan to make merch a lot. And I don’t expect you to buy stuff unless you really, really want it. But I was like, hey, this is fun, so why not?

So, until next time… Share and Enjoy!

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The EVENT

Everyone has a phobia of something. Some of us are afraid of the dark. Some of us are afraid of clowns. Some of us are afraid of llamas. Seriously, llamas. I was watching Maury one time and he had this chick on who was phobic of llamas. Like, he brought a llama out on stage and the girl just lost it. She was absolutely certain that the llama was going to attack her, sprout fangs, grab her by her neck-flesh and just go to freaking town before dropping her dead carcass at its feet and proceeding to devour her children and other loved ones. This didn’t happen of course… but if it had, it would have been the best damn episode of Maury EVER.

So, yes, everyone has phobias… including me. But mine is an ordinary, common (even dull) phobia. I have arachnophobia. Yep, I am ridiculously scared of spiders. I see a spider, I freak. And here’s the thing, I’m not a delicate girly-girl. Nope, I’m a tough broad. But those eight-legged horror shows have got my fear number. And here’s the other thing, as I’ve gotten older, the phobia has gotten worse. It used to be, “Oh shit! A spider!!” and I’d step on it. But now, I have the irrational fear that the damn things will bite through my shoe and plunge their massive fangs into my foot, and then my foot will start to dissolve into a massive, open, gangrenous wound because the spider had acid for venom and then my foot will have to be amputated in a last ditch effort to stop the poison from reaching the rest of my body, so I’ll be footless for the rest of my life and my less-sensitive friends will call me gimpy, and if I’m ever attacked by another spider, I will be powerless to stop it, because I don’t want to lose my other foot.

So you might be wondering, “Gosh, Jen, what on earth happened to make you so afraid of spiders?” Well, gentle readers, I shall tell you.

When I was four-ish years old, my family and I were driving across the mid-west. I don’t remember why. I was four. But there we were, in the family VW Bug (sky blue) and cruising on the interstate. Somewhere in the middle of our journey, my father spied something crossing the road. Something worth stopping for; something worth terrifying and scarring his daughter for life with. So we pulled off to the side of the road, and dad hauled me out of my car seat and carried me over to the thing. The thing turned out to be A GIANT FREAKING TARANTULA!!!!! So my dad thought it would be great to crouch down with me in his arms and get a really good look at it up close. Which he did. And I was not happy. The eight-legged behemoth started crawling right for us – and I’m freaking out and trying to disappear into my dad’s armpit and my dad is just squatting there saying , “Look, Jenny, a spider!” like it’s the neatest thing ever. Meanwhile, did I mention, the thing is coming right for us!?! Scarred. For. Life.

To this day neither of my parents take my arachnophobia seriously. They think I’m just being melodramatic. Especially my dad. Especially when I freak out over tiny spiders. He’s like, “Oh, come on, it’s tiny!” And then I have to define “phobia” for him for the bazillionth time. A phobia is an irrational fear. Key word IRRATIONAL. A phobia spits in the face of logic, much like a llama just spits in your face. And then I have to remind my dad whose fault my little phobia is. HIS. And for years he has contested just how big the tarantula was, and just how close we were to it. But, now, ha-HA!, in a recent development, my dad has conceded (somewhat) to The Event, because he came across evidence so undeniable, he had to share it with me.

You will note in my retelling of The Event, that I don’t mention my mother. Where was mom while all the carnage was being done to my psyche? The answer: behind the camera! Yep, she documented the whole thing! Or at least one still-frame of it. And here it is, the evidence of The Event:

You will note the distance between dad and I and the BEAST is at BEST three feet. That’s damn close. You will also note the size of the thing. That sucker is huge!! Now imagine it from the viewpoint of a four year old being held against her will and forced to watch as the scariest thing ever is coming right for her! See how I am desperately trying to cave in on myself in a last ditch effort at self-preservation?

I rest my case.

Thanks a lot, dad.

Go Foucault yourself!

So I was listening to my favorite podcast (shameless plug) The Fingerbucket Report (shameless plug) and it started me thinking about words.

Not just any words, but words that sound like they should be about one thing, but are actually about another.

For example, and to borrow from (shameless plug) The Fingerbucket Report (shameless plug), let’s look at the word “philatelist”. Sure, in truth it means, “a person who collects stamps”, but if someone were to confide in you “hey, did you know that my uncle is an avid philatelist” you can’t tell me that the first thing that pops in to your head is “stamp collector”. Nope, I bet that you’d be thinking of a slightly more naught “TMI-y” variety.

So, I have thrown down a gauntlet to myself to strive for both childishness AND pedantry. Therefore, I shall freely and in accurate context use such words as “analemma”, “logorrhea” and “masticate”. Watch me as I deftly describe that special sort of fellow as a “pants rabbit”. Stand back jaw agape and legs akimbo as I roll back my “furbelow” and plant “rape seed” so that it grows in a “vaginervose” manner across the “hoary” cliff side.

Okay, wow, I’m having way too much fun with this.

So tell me, readers, what’s your favorite naughty sounding but not actually naughty word(s)?

Until next time I’ll be using Foucault’s pendulum to circumscribe the Earth.

Snap, Crackle, Pop! My Bonesies!

When I was a young lass of a mere early 20’s, I discovered I could crack my back by violently hurling my leg into the air and across my body, much like a pee-wee league soccer player who, despite valiant attempts, completely misses the ball directly in front of them. I thought this was cool. It made a terrific crack-pop-crack-crack sound and provided a wonderful momentary feeling of lightness, as though my spine was suddenly and happily experiencing anti-gravity. Plus the look of horror on people’s faces nearby was secretly pleasing to me.

Then, in my early mid-20’s, I was told by a medical professional that what I was doing was the worst possible way to relieve joint pressure and that if I wanted to pop or crack a joint (back or otherwise) it should be done with carefully applied pressure; such as twisting slowly in a seat or door frame. He also made me promise I would never, ever, EVER pop my back in such a violent way again. Reasonably chastened, I promised.

So for years after this I tried desperately, and in vain, to get my back to pop again using the less insane gentle methods medical dude had recommended for me. They never worked. Once in a while I was able to convince friends of mine of the big and tall variety to lift me up by the arm-pits and sway me a little, sometimes this worked. Sometimes they’d give me a firm bear hug and that would work too. But I could not get it on my own.

So there I was, uncomfortable, all the time. You might ask why I didn’t pay for a chiropractor. Well, they don’t really solve the problem, do they? You pay them cash money, and they pop you, and then you get stiff joints again and have to pay them cash money again…and the cycle continues. I don’t believe in paying someone cash money for the purpose of posing me in funny positions and pushing on me. Honestly, I don’t think making me lay with my butt in the air, and my face on the table and my left leg hung out to the right and my right foot on the blue dot and my left hand on the yellow dot is really necessary for popping my back. I think they do it just to see how many embarrassing positions they can get you in before you notice the video camera with the red light on by the desk.

As I was saying, there I was for years trying to get my back to give a little, and it just wouldn’t. Until now.

Now I am in my early 30’s and suddenly I sound like a walking Rice Krispies ad. I don’t have to be doing anything. I could just be sitting perfectly still and suddenly I will feel and hear my spine start to pop from the midway point and the cracking will continue, unassisted, all the way up to the base of my neck; Like the ghost of Lionel Hampton is just wailing his mallets right up my vertebrae. (Never heard of Lionel Hampton? Wikipedia is an awesome resource kiddies! Fun fact, I once ruined a Lionel Hampton concert for my parents because I was behaving like a spoiled brat, and didn’t appreciate the musical icon with which they had tried to enrich my burgeoning 6 [7? 8?] year-old cultural IQ.)

You might think I am pleased now that I am finally able to cracken-mein-backen. But, I’m not. Nope. No, instead of being filled with joy and relief I am filled with paranoia.

Because now to me: Joint Popping = Mortality.

I’m like, Oh crap! What does this mean? Did I ruin my back? Has the decay of age already started its march? Has osteoporosis already set in? Do I need to call Sally Fields? If I do will she like me? Really, really like me? What if she doesn’t like me? Is it because I’m fat? It’s because I’m fat, isn’t it? Skinny bitch. You know, I’ve never really thought she was talented. I swear she runs through every single emotion in every scene she does just to cover bases. Stupid Sally Fields.

I’m not someone usually obsessed with death and decay, particularly my own, but the bone-loss thing does worry me. Mostly because I don’t want to be 3’11” when I’m in my 70’s (I’m 5’5” now). Ideally, I’d like to be a spry old gal.

So, I’m taking steps! Yes! I am all “Yay Calcium!” and “Boo…er… stuff that isn’t calcium!” (Pardon me while I take a sip of my Diet Coke). Honestly, I don’t really have a plan yet.

Hey readers (all five of you), got any suggestions? I hope so, because I’ve just realized I have no idea how to wrap this post up… but I’m too lazy to write a new one on a different topic. So, tell me things!

Mazel Tov!

Happy Day of the Dead, Ya’ll!

Halloween is my favorite holiday. FAVE. OR. IT!! I geek out annually to a degree that is probably not healthy to myself or my bank account, but you know what?? I don’t care.

Okay… that’s a lie… I do care about my bank account. I need it.

But otherwise, seriously, the geekery is intense.

This year my lovely better half and I decided (or rather I kind of forced the issue) that we would do a tribute to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. That’s right DisneyLAND. Not World, Not Paris. LAND. The original and the bestest Mansion (in my opinion).

And boy oh boy was this a perfect choice!! Our house on its own, has a nifty spooky, yet approachable , vibe. (Much like the Mansion itself). Plus it has columns. Columns are awesome for holidays. You can wrap things around them, hang stuff on them, drape things from them, you name it and columns make it possible.

So, here is what we started with:

And here is how we finished:

A closer look…

I know, awesome, right?! Even I was standing back after it was all up and going and I was like, “awe!” Yes, I actually said “awe”, because I was in it!

Okay, so super quickie breakdown of the whole dealy-bopper.

I decided early that the front door was far too jolly a red to work for any Hallowe’en theme, so I went to the fabric store and bought some muslin and elastic strap material, and then went to the mega-hardware store and bought some primer, some dark green paint and a can each of white and black spray paint.  Then (after covering the front door generously in plastic drop cloths), I strapped the muslin to the door using the elastic bands (cut holes for the knob and deadbolt), primed it in two coats and then painted it that lovely dark green color. Then, I used some old poster board to create a stencil and spray painted on the beveled accents.

Do I have progress shots of this amazing crafty action? No. Because I didn’t even think about the fact that I have a blog now. But can’t you see it in your mind??? Yeah… yeah… there it is – and it is so COOL!

Moving on…I used an open-source graphic program to take and stretch jpegs of the stretching room portraits to the exact size and width of the windows next to the front door. And, yes, I could not stop giggling insanely at the notion that I was stretching the stretching portraits. I told you, too much geekery can cause brain damage. Then, I very nicely asked a lovely friend of mine who uses one of those nifty large format plotters at work to print the portraits out for me. A cup of sugar goes a long way, peeps.

For the larger window panels, we went back to the fabric store and bought way too expensive white fabric and some more reasonably priced black fabric. Using a graph system, I sketched out the silhouettes on graph paper, and then drew a scale graph on the black material in chalk, copied the image from the paper to the material, and finally cut it out and glued it to the white material. Voila, awesome panels.

Pumpkins!! Okay, I created custom stencils for the pumpkins to represent the three “Hitchhiking Ghosts”. And um… yeah, that’s about it. Oh!! Did you know that the names of the Hitchhiking Ghosts are Phineas, Gus and Ezra? Did you know they even had names? Did you know that I’m a total dork for this stuff? Yes? Oh… well, you had me at “Welcome Foolish, Mortals…”

Um….what else? OH! The plaque!

Yeah, I didn’t do that. But EBay is AWESOME!

Madame Leota. I created a whole media experience using an open source audio editing program and Windows Movie Maker. I won’t go into any real detail here because it was a true “had to be there thing”, but suffice it to say, the trick-or-treaters loved it! Oh… and I rear-screen projected Leota’s image onto the window.

Everything else in the yard was either store bought or re-purposed from previous years, but over-all we were very, very pleased with the outcome.

And now to start planning for next year!!

Muhuhahahaha…hack…(cough)…heh…aheh.