A Likely Lass

probably nothing of consequence

Corn isn’t food for dogs

Back in 2007, I was feeding my dog Purina Dog Chow. Being a fairly average consumer and half-broke to begin with, I didn’t research much into what I was giving my dog. I figured Purina was good enough for lots of dogs, and it would be fine for mine – especially considering she often received plenty of table-scraps and other supplemental ‘human-foods’.

(Picture of the silly dog)

One night, she had a seizure. And then another. And another. I rushed her to the emergency vet only to find out that she was dehydrated and her bilirubin count was through the roof. Her kidneys had low function. I was able to take her home that day, but for the next year, it was a constant touch-and-go with her symptoms. I became a sometimes thrice-monthly face at the vet’s office (and a huge thank-you to Powhatan Animal Hospital, who not only would get us in for very-last-minute appointments, but also helped keep her comfortable in her last year). Sometimes, treatment would help, sometimes it wouldn’t. A year and some later, the vets helped me make a difficult decision as my dog was wasting away, and she passed away on April 2nd, 2009.

I have no idea what exactly happened to her. She was a purebred chow, and chows have a tendency to develop renal failure. However, it was three days after I had opened up a new bag of Purina Dog Chow that she got sick, and shortly thereafter, another major recall of Purina was announced. I don’t know that it was Purina that caused her illness, or if it was hereditary, or if it was environmental. Certainly her health problems were compounded by other issues later on.

It shocked me that a dog – even of slightly-advanced age, she was 10 at the time – that had a previous blood-test a few months prior that came back fine – would become sick so quickly. Without having any other true place to begin, I began to research what was actually in dog food.

To my surprise? Hooves and intestines of slaughtered animals, grains considered unfit for human consumption, rice byproducts, sugar beet byproducts, organs of slaughtered animals that appear diseased … among other things, all appear in dog food. There are also the numerous reports of animal cruelty associated with “testing” new products at major pet food manufacturers. The more I read about it, the more disgusted I became.

I adopted a dog about six months after my chow had become sick and started feeding both a different diet. I switched around to various brands, read more about pet nutrition (more complex than I originally thought), coped with the new dog’s tendency to vomit up everything he ate. For him, we finally settled on Bil Jac, and then later after the Bil Jac was causing him to gain weight, Blue Wilderness.

After I adopted Bean, about a year after Rollo had passed away, I began making them a home-made diet adapted from Dr. Pitcairn’s Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs, eventually settling on a mix of high-quality dog food and supplemental human-grade food, which they get now.

Choosing your dog’s food isn’t easy if you put thought into their nutrition, nor is it inexpensive. Let’s be honest – good quality dog food is expensive, especially if you have a large breed, and can be labor intensive if you choose to supplement human-grade food or make your own food. But the payoff is enormous – both in decreased vet bills and increased vitality for the dog. I remember tallying up the vet bills after Rollo’s death, and coming up with a $5k figure – a huge amount to someone with my salary. I don’t regret a penny of it, but did wish I had been more conscious of her nutrition before she got sick.

But too, let’s face the facts about commercial dog food: it’s mostly made of corn. Think about what happens after you eat corn – do you actually digest a lot of it? I’m thinking, if you’re an average human, probably no. Dogs are adapted from wolves, who primarily eat meat, and only in the last hundred years have we humans given our animal companions a diet consisting solely of commercial food, which is 90% corn. Is it any wonder our pets have sky-high incidences of cancer, renal failure, obesity and skin issues? Even humans have many health issues if they have a poor diet – just observe the diet of lower-class Americans, with an emphasis on cheap, pre-made food and a deemphasis on natural foods (which inevitably cost more to procure), and compare that to illness and obesity rates.

Such are the qualities of capitalism that a huge commercial pet-food manufacturer like Purina can make a profit by making a shoddy product for animals, but so to can consumers be more aware of what they buy for their pets. It’s not a difficult choice if you love your pet and have observed the health problems caused by commercial dog food.


If the shoe fits, it’s too expensive

Let’s talk for a minute about shoes.

No wait, let’s talk about genetics for a minute.

I come from Tall People. We’re Nordic, so that’s what we do: be Tall. There are good things that come from being tall: reaching the cupboards, for instance. Or being naturally good at sports involving reach, often because tall people have longer arms. There are not-so-great things, too. For instance: the shrinking of the “playing field” when you’re dating, the uncomfortableness of living in a house built in the 1920s, etc.

Why does the dating field shrink, you say? Well, as a woman who stands five feet eight and three-quarters inches without her shoes on, it means that with even the most minimal shoe, I am five feet nine inches tall. Add a pair of sneakers and suddenly I’m five-nine-and-a-half. Stilettos? Approaching six feet. Most men like to not have to reach upwards for their date, I am quite sure, nor stare upwards at a woman who is glaring suspiciously down at them (which is another thing Tall Nordic People are good at: glaring suspiciously. See: January Jones as “Betty Draper” in Mad Men).

This was not a problem in the cold Northern Reaches where I grew up: most men are around six feet or taller, probably having evolved to height because in snow-drifts, you are only half as tall. However, I have found that in Virginia, there seems to be a height ceiling of around five-foot-ten or eleven, for men, maybe five seven for women. Disregarding any scientific inquiry into cold and height ratio on a population or general population heights for this area, I’m fairly sure I’m taller than average.

Which naturally means, in three-inch heels, I’m a friggin’ amazon. Okay, okay, not really. I just feel like it.

It’s the primary reason that my small collection of Shoes I Love (primarily stilettos) go unworn (well, that and having to walk across a gravel parking lot and risk a broken ankle is not ideal). I feel like I tower over people. Possibly even Loom. However, I decided recently that if I’m going to spend money on lovely and expensive shoes, I really ought to wear them.
So thus has begun one of my first resolutions: wear ALL the shoes. Not at once, because that would be ridiculous, but one at a time. And after the first few days, I started keeping a tally.
Number of comments about my height: 22
Number of men visibly intimidated: 5
Number of men visibly intimidated (whom I was not making snarly faces at): 3
Number of men who made a comment about my “looming” over them: 1
Number of people who made a comment about me seeming “much shorter” when in sneakers: 7
That one brave soul who told me I should stop “looming” over him was none other than a coworker who works in the IT department, and is obviously confident enough in his ability to cut me off from Google News not to be intimidated by my sudden and alarming additional height.
So therein lies my quandary: do I loom over others, leaving them to gaze eternally at my chin (gosh how attractive) and allow myself to speak to their foreheads, or do I stop wearing fantastic shoes?

No, really. Dilemma!

I’m sorry that I’m sorry

I grew up in Minnesota. I’m sure you may have heard the saying “Minnesota Nice”. In general, it’s not a misnomer. Maybe it’s something about living on what seems to be an arctic tundra six months out of the year, or the organized community effort we put in to combating mosquitoes the other six months, but people are generally pretty nice. The movie “Fargo”, though people INSIDE the state may find it comically untrue, is not far off when you’re looking at it from the Outside.

For instance: as a child, everyone said “I’m sorry.” It was one of those Things, like snow. People would apologize for everything, and there was little that couldn’t be met with a litany of “I’m sorry”s.

– If you bump in to someone: “I’m so sorry!” Why we say that: bumping in to someone, regardless of age, gender or race, could have caused the possibility of them falling over and cursing at us. We’re very sorry that it’s a possibility.

– If you and a stranger do that weird dance on the sidewalk when someone is going the opposite way and you’re both trying to get out of each other’s way but keep going in the same direction as you are trying to do so: “I’m sorry!” Why we say that: we have inconvenienced someone by taking up their time doing awkward sidewalk dances! The horror!

– If you have to hand in a bunch of work to someone, regardless of the contents of their inbox: “Sorry about that.” Why we do that: I don’t know. Generally people like to be employed, and “sorry, here’s some more stuff for you to do” isn’t all that awful. BUT, it allows the receiver to say the not-as-common “That’s all right!” in a cheerful and productive tone.

– If you stand too close to someone in the supermarket: “Excuse me, I’m sorry.” Why we say that: There is a multitude of reasons. First, the sayer is impinging on the social space of the other person. What if they are made uncomfortable? What if we actually BREATHED UPON THEM? Maybe they’re allergic to dogs or exceedingly frightened by people looming suddenly upon them and could have a heart attack at any possible second-

Sorry was employed in every possible social engagement: Sorry I wobbled a bit there, I didn’t mean to cause you a moment’s worth of worry that I may actually fall over and crush you beneath me. Sorry, this parking space just jumped out at me and now you can’t park here, really, I’m sorry about that. Sorry about drinking too much and asking for my keys! I’m REALLY sorry you’re angry, even though I don’t know why! Oh god, you’re crying, I’m sorry!! Your husband left you and I’m SO SORRY even though it’s obvious he met a special someone down at the Nineties and has probably been fooling himself all these years! Gosh, I am REALLY SORRY I got in the way of your fist, I’m quite sure you didn’t mean to actually PUNCH me, I am habitually clumsy, as you may know.

Can you imagine the confusion that happens when people raised with an infinite amount of apology actually get unleashed upon the rest of the country? I remember my first job in Virginia, when I thought I was standing too close to my boss when we were talking out in the parking lot.

“Sorry,” I said, moving back a step, even though HE had actually come in to MY bubble.

“For what?” he asked, stepping forward, back INTO my bubble.

“Um. Standing too close?” I edged back a nervous step.

“Oh, that’s okay,” he said with a chuckle, “You have to get used to us Southerners,” he stepped a very LARGE step forward.

In Minnesota, this is practically assault. I had to steel myself and remind myself that though he was within THREE FEET, this was PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE in other parts of the country where maybe they didn’t grow up with as much flat, empty space as I did.

Indeed, now that I’ve had several years to observe people in this general area, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you DON’T stand uncomfortably close, people view you with suspicion. As such, you can spot other Minnesotans a mile away because they’ll be the only ones holding a conversation with ten feet between them.

“I’m sorry” is also cause for suspicion. I’ve had people interrogate me for the reflex.

“Why are you saying I’m sorry?”

“Um.” This is always a terrible question to ask someone from that region. It’s such a reflex that often we’re not entirely certain. The only thing we’re certain of is that IF there exists even a REMOTE POSSIBILITY we have caused you a MILLISECOND of some emotion that is not exploding with happiness and baby unicorns, we’re sorry about it. “Because… um.”

Naturally, Other People will then view us with suspicion. “No, really, why are you saying sorry?”

“I don’t… um… Sorry, about the sorry… I…”

“WHY are you sorry?”

“Because … um.”


“I’M SORRY!” [insert wailing here]

Obviously, the conclusion would be to stop saying “I’m sorry” to every offense, actual and possible, but it’s not so easy. It’s ingrained from childhood, just like the desire to don goofy rabbit-fur hats at the first frost or the primal urge to acquire anti-mosquito spray when the temperature goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two days in a row or the rush out the door when the snow quits falling to quickly shovel your sidewalk and then shovel your neighbors before he’s noticed it’s stopped snowing. It’s just how I am, I can’t seem to change it no matter what I do because I feel the urge to apologize for being so rude.

I’m sorry!

You should never look monsters in the eye

By now, probably almost everyone’s heard of Tucker Carlson’s comment that Michael Vick should be executed for murdering dogs. I have to say, this is probably the first time ever that I’ve partially agreed with Tucker. Ok, no, I don’t really think that Michael Vick should be executed – I think he should have been sentenced to life in prison, no parole. Solitary confinement if he could be so ordered.

I’ve gotten mad about this in the past (as I had about the local Mack Hudson case) and people have been quick to jump to Vick’s defense. I’ve heard it all – he has great talent, I’m being racist, I don’t understand how he grew up, I am ‘privileged’ and therefore my opinion is compromised, I’m obviously not an Eagles fan. However, I’d like to point out that it has nothing to do with Michael Vick’s race – I’d be as similarly inclined to such a punishment if Vick was female and white. I don’t think ‘talent’ defines a person’s humanity, and I do not care how he grew up – humanity and compassion aren’t exclusive to people who live in better areas or have more money. The point remains incontestible: Michael Vick routinely murdered dogs for his own enjoyment.

This isn’t hunting, where a fast and clean kill is generally appreciated by most huntsmen. It’s not a commercial abattoir where stock animals are killed for consumption and (generally) killed humanely. He personally killed dogs, apparently for his own enjoyment. He hung them from their necks until they suffocated. He drowned them. It’s difficult to account for all the atrocities committed – from the ‘rape stand’ to the fighting pit to the accounts of slamming a dog’s head into the ground until it died. For that degree of callousness and disregard of life, for being able to repeatedly torture animals without one twitch of remorse, Michael Vick proved he has no humanity.

Here’s a good example of the abuse he inflicted.

“As that dog lay on the ground, fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed its front legs and Michael Vick grabbed its back legs. They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope then slammed it to the ground. The first impact didn’t kill it. So, Phillips and Vick slammed it again. The two men kept at it, alternating back and forth, pounding the creature against the ground until, at last, the little red dog was dead.”

I can’t even read half of that article without twitching.

Such a complete lack of compassion, as displayed by Michael Vick, doesn’t deserve to be applauded, even if Vick has ‘talent’. Such cruelty doesn’t deserve a “second chance”, no matter what President Obama thinks. There is no excuse for doing this – not your ‘background’ or racial makeup or your pants size or your income. To call it inhuman is to assign a word that cannot possibly convey the utter lack of humanity that Vick has.

On the heels of this, of course, is Michael Vick’s plaintive “but I want a dog again”. I ask you – do you let a convicted pedophile around children again? Probably not. Is it a good idea to allow a convicted drug addict to work at a pharmacy? Again, probably not. So why would anyone think that it would be a good idea for a convicted dog torturer to be allowed a dog?

Quite frankly, I don’t think Vick deserves anything. Sure, he’s a good football player – but devoid of that, what is he? Just another monster.

Where was my mind when I decided this?

Some time ago (as in, probably a week or so) I signed up for 10k training. As in, running and/or walking 10 kilometers. MYSELF. No Segways allowed (I already asked).  The 10k is the first week in April, and the training starts January 1st. It will involve weight-training, run/walking, and etc.  I went and picked up my Official Training Team Tee Shirt today and finished the paperwork, so I am Officially Enrolled.

Now that it’s done, this is kind of how I feel about it:

To clarify why I feel such trepidation, I’d like to point out that, for all intents and purposes, one could classify me as a nerd. I play(ed) World of Warcraft from beta. I joined Chess Club in high school and avoided running a mile at all costs. I was helpful, socially inept, and ignorant of the favors a good pair of tweezers could do me. The intervening years have yielded at least better social skills, but fitness has definitely been a tertiary ambition, far behind Culinary Pursuits, Ganking Lowbies, and Trying To Find Mismatched Socks And Failing.

Some of that changed about four months ago, when my flock of doctors collectively threw up their hands and said “Something is wrong with you, but we don’t know what.” It’s not that I’ve been sick, but it all started three years ago after a car accident. Six months after it, I was finally released from physical therapy, but I continued having issues with my back. My doctor fished around but said that probably, after all the accidents I’ve been in (and in my defense, I wasn’t driving in most of them, and the ones I was driving in, I was stationary in a vehicle or on a bicycle) “having a bit of back pain isn’t going to be uncommon.” But then my gynecologist jumped on the bandwagon and declared, quite without merit, that I had endometriosis and/or hypothyroidism. Then there were some other -isms and -sises thrown around, some health scares, more doctors and bills until one doctor finally lifted my diet and exercise restrictions and told me “Look, if something’s wrong with you, you’ll know it. Otherwise, get back to the gym and start eating better. If you don’t feel better, come back.”

Thank god, is all I can say. Three years of thinking something is Terribly Wrong is about two years and eleven months too long.

So I started going to the gym again, eating (somewhat) better, and lo and behold, have started feeling better. My back doesn’t give me much pain anymore, my knees are fine, my internal organs seem to be doing okay, and most importantly, nothing has fallen off yet or developed spontaneous chestburster qualities.

And then of course, in a fit of utter madness, I signed up for the 10k.

And then I realized that hey, I might actually need to train for this.

And then I fell down.

But I got better, and am now contemplating the next thirteen weeks of my life wherein I will be driven like a slave until my legs fall off participating in “group activity”.

The horror.

Rabbit Heart (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

I do have favorite romance novels, though the existence of which may be doubted considering the content of this blog. In fact, my favorite ones routinely feature the Plucky-But-Realistic-Heroine, who is usually not born under a favorable sign, or is pretty but not pretty enough, or is handed some plate of crap that she has to deal with in a non-pretty manner. Usually the hero tries to court her and she’s all “Hey, I have to DEAL WITH MY LIFE, please excuse me”, but he doesn’t give up, or maybe he gives up temporarily but he decides that her Complete Awesomeness is too much to live without… which is kind of how I wish my life went, which is the main reason women read romance novels ANYWAY…

But I tackled “Rabbit Heart” this week, because I thought it would be a good book, a quick escape from the drear of my life this week.

It wasn’t. Oh, my god, it wasn’t. Be warned: the following review contains a metric ton of SEX and RABBITS and sometimes these two terms are connected. Not for the faint of heart.

Hundred words or so: Nicollette Caron is every man’s ideal mistress. Pity, then, that all of her lovers die trying to satisfy her insatiable appetite. Forced to flee town after town so that no one will discover her terrible secret, Nicollette is haunted by the ghosts of her dead lovers as England’s top crime inspector circles ever closer (seriously, this is what is on the cover).

Renowned for his tenacity, handsome detective Jackson Lang will stop at nothing to prove that Nicollette is a murderess. Powerful Lord Baston is equally determined…to make Nicollette his mistress despite her breathless warnings. A fortune-teller foresees that only one man is strong enough to save Nicollette. But how will she know which man to trust until it is too late?
Pages: 353
Author: Colleen Hitchcock
Year Published: 2006

Nicolette, or “Nicole” as she sometimes goes by, is a no-name noble sexing her way through late-1800s England. At birth, she was raised for a few hours (!!!) by rabbits which has inexplicably given her an incredibly fast heartbeat that can inexplicably make other people die just by being near her if she’s inexplicably sexually aroused by something like a piece of paper or possibly a suggestive looking fruit. She’s also ungodly beautiful, “intelligent”, has gobs and gobs of money, and of course has a calm logical mind (amid the TORRID ORGASMS and UNCONTROLLABLE LUST).

However, she’s on to her thirteenth victim whom she’s killed by her first sexual encounter with them. Not only has she hidden thirteen bodies all over England of men she’s killed in the heat of passion, but she’s haunted by their ghosts who all inexplicably try to have sex with her though they’re dead (because yay, ghost party, like zombies only less NUUUHHH BRAINNSSSS). As she moves into this little town in the south of England, she’s inexplicably confronted with the idea that she wants to stay in that town. Sensibly and logically, she christens the town by screwing the mayor to death, and not-really hiding his body on the banks of the river.

Meanwhile, the richest and most elegant and DASTARDLY noble in the land, Lord Baston, is having sex with a deaf-mute in 5426758943 different positions all at once (seriously, I am not even kidding. I am pretty positive I picked this book up out of the “romance” section, not the “halfhearted erotica” section).

The town’s hotelier, Miriam, really loved the mayor named Frederick, but is inexplicably taken with Nicolette (my auto-correct keeps wanting me to type Nicorette so excuse me if it happens) and wants to be her bestest friend evar. Since Frederick is “missing” (i.e., his body is on the riverbank sprinkled with pretty flowers, sporting a ginormous erection, yes, seriously), Miriam convinces Nicolette to go to a seer to try to find Frederick (instead of logically searching the river banks where he said he’d be fishing). The Seer sees Nicolette and calls her into her cave where there are bones and candles and all that seer-like stuff there. Of course, she knows all about Nicolette and her string of dead lovers, but promises to keep mum as long as Nicolette “finds the one meant to be”. She doesn’t say anything about Frederick**, really, but with a bisectioned head and multiple personalities, what can you really expect?

So anyway, despite Miriam’s apparent weeping and sadness, they dress up and go to a ball where, inexplicably, Lord Baston has arrived (sans deaf-mute). There is discussion of cleavage for awhile, then Nicholette dances with every man in the room and makes every man’s pants “tighten” and “ready for love” . There is a fight over her between Lord Baston and one of her suitors, where naturally she uses her logic to scream “No, stop it!” and stand aside. This is, of course, the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to the town, outside of some earthquakes and three headed cows and that stuff.

Lord Baston decides he’s going to court Nicolette. Meanwhile, she’s slept with another gentleman and killed him in a carriage with her ORGASMS OF DOOM, which was an accident, but oh well. So logically she stays in town and accepts her suitor’s invitation to dinner, though by now everyone’s seen the mayor’s body sprinkled with flowers and put 1 and 14 million together, though no one really cares for some reason. Nicolette’s trusty servant, Marie, has inexplicably arrived by invisible plane to chaparone her mistress.

During dinner, the deaf-mute (who was hooked on cocaine) inexplicably bursts into the room, bedraggled, weeping, crying and trying to hug Lord Baston for god knows what reason, it’s never really explained. She is taken away by a servant. Conversation continues as normal (invisible mute!) with the horde of townspeople Lord Baston has inexplicably invited to his private dinner. Nicolette inexplicably falls in love with him, while inexplicably counting to herself, one plus one is two, two plus two is four, two plus one is three… go away, voyeur! because she is an insane rabbit woman, and maybe that’s what rabbits think.

Meanwhile! there is a (handsome, charming, rich) detective hot on Nicolette’s trail of murders and evil sluttitude. He’s determined to expose her now that she’s inexplicably killed men and left them with their John Thomas saluting the sky (for SHAME!!).

The next day, Nicolette is asked to view Frederick’s corpse by the town doctor. He inexplicably knows about her “condition” with the heart thing though he’s never met her or heard of her and simply by standing next to her he gets dizzy (I personally think that may be her body odor as she inexplicably bathes only once in the entire book). Later, he gets drunk with the detectives and tells them all about “Miss Tweeter’s Thing” which is inexplicably left up to the imagination of the reader. Of course, Jackson Lang, the detective, puts 15 billion and 15 billion together and comes up with a nice sum, so he goes to arrest Nicolette Caron.

…who has gone out on a carriage ride with Lord Baston but he inexplicably knows about the detectives coming to arrest her and intends to spirit her away. Inexplicably, Lord Baston’s servant has fallen in love with Marie for some reason, though it’s unknown why this is important. There is a ferry involved in their “escape”, the deaf-mute inexplicably turns up again and handily drowns, and oddly enough they have to “swim for it” even though they’re on a damn ferry and it’s not like the detective can exactly come swooping in riding a helicopter or something. However, justice does prevail and Nicolette is arrested for sexual perversions and being a crazy rabbit woman.

Of course, she goes to jail and is scheduled to have her head cut off by the inexplicable guillotine, which inexplicably is in ENGLAND and not FRANCE. In a twist that no one could ever expect, her guards attempt to sexually assault her but die in the process, again because of her MASSIVE UNBELIEVABLE ORGASMS OF RABBIT DOOM!!! She writes Lord Baston passionate love-letters and knits the straw of her cell into animal shapes for companionship. There’s a trial, at which evidence is presented that Nicolette just can’t help killing people, but inexplicably its dismissed.

Of course, as Nicolette is led to be killed, she escapes and chaos breaks loose. Inexplicably, one of the townspeople is up on the castle wall (doing what I just can’t imagine) and sees her trying to escape. Inexplicably, it is the detective who was trying to have her killed who is helping her escape. Events unfold rapidly like invisible coffee tables and are thrown about and knock people on the head until it is accepted that Nicolette has died as she flung herself into the sea (really, it was just her dress weighted with rocks) and nothing is ever recovered of her, inexplicably. Lord Baston and Nicolette escape to America and live there after a couple of weeks at sea (invisible spaceship!) happily ever after, presumably having sex in 2039478327543 positions all at once, like he says he likes it. Inexplicably, he doesn’t die from her RABBIT ORGASMS OF DEATH, possibly because he is also a rabbit. It doesn’t say if she has 27000 children because of her rabbit like tendencies, either, which is disappointing.

*Who is homely-looking, as all good servants should be.
**Plot!Device, if you were wondering.

Reviewer’s Notes: This book is just… inexplicable! Full of deaf-mute death and crazy nobles, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s been hit about the head with a cement cudgel and can wrap their 2 brain cells they have left to bang together around the inexplicable plot twists and loose erotica threaded together by the hairy underarms of Justice.
By the Numbers:
“Love” Scenes:
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: -10. There are no virgins in this book. 0. That makes less than one virgin.
Plot “Twists”: Divided into two categories: Outrageously unclever: 10, Inexlicably inexplicable: 45.
Number of Men Lusting After the Heroine: 4 towns worth, an entire jail worth, plus a handful, I suppose.
Number of Mary Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine: 2
Times “Fate” Intervened: 8 times, not including Saved By Rabbits.
Times “Fate” Intervened by 500 or more miles: 2/8
References to the supposed love-book “777”: 15000

Overall Grade: D-. This book needs more deaf-mute.

An epically stupid thing to do

So there I was. The last class of the semester. The final. I’d just taken my seat when the Ex-Linebacker in front of me turned around.
“Hey,” he whispered with a smile, “Do you want to go sledding after class? A bunch of us are going, y’know, to let off steam.”
“Where?” I asked, intrigued but wary.
“There’s a hill at the other side of campus, we’re meeting there. It goes right down into the parking lot, but the lot’s empty.”
I hesitated. “Well…”
“C’mon,” he said with what was a genuinely charming smile. “Just go down once. It’ll be fun.”
So it was in the spirit of “just this once” that I agreed. Just one spin down the hill. After all, how much snow do we get, annually, in Virginia?
Don’t answer that.
Ex-Linebacker led a group of us to the other end of the campus where some other students were already zinging down the long hill, flying off a makeshift snow-ramp, and skidding into the parking lot. EL was right – it did look like a lot of fun. We waited in a motley group near the top of the hill as people trudged up, carrying plastic disks. EL handed me a disc.
“Race you!” he said, grabbing a sled. I followed him to the top of the hill.
Let me tell you, it looks a lot more fun when you’re not staring down the ice-slicked paths. I know about sledding – having grown up in the far northern reaches of the United States, I can say with some confidence that I’ve either been conscripted into or willingly joined many winter sports, such as dog-sledding, skiing, snow-shoeing, surprise snowball fights, and lying before a fire complaining of the cold – but I can say with some confidence that the hill looked intimidating. But in the spirit of competition, with my competitor already balancing himself precariously on a plastic disc, I didn’t let that stop me, mainly because I believe the majority of my braincells were frozen and the rest were pinging around aimlessly going “Wheee!”.
So I jumped on, and in a split second, was careening down the hill. The disc was fast, faster still with ice slicking the way. I landed neatly, my disc spinning as I hit the ground and I dared to breathe and even, yes, give a little giggle.
And then it all went egg-shaped.
EL suddenly appeared out of nowhere, in the air, sans disc. He crashed into me, sending us both wildly skidding on the parking lot. It seemed like for at least three seconds, my entire world was made up of wildly flailing arms, a mysteriously appearing boot, and ice. 
I know we halted at some point, and I lay there, devoid of breath, my mind blank with the surprise. EL had helpfully grabbed me around the waist mid-collision and were it anything else other than a sledding accident, I might have had to propose then and there. As it was, EL scrambled up with impressive speed (given that I was still attempting to find out where my breath had gone) and leaned over me. His big honest face hovered over me like a frightened moon, or possibly a wheel of cheese, which is precisely the comparison my brain made at the moment. And then, of course, he asked.
“Are you okay?”
There are three responses in this situation. “Yes”, “No”, and “Nuuurrghh…”* I settled for the third choice, which came out more as an asthmatic wheeze.
EL helped me sit up, and I did a quick self-assessment. Nothing broken, though I’d lost a mitten somewhere along the way. A few students were running over but slowed as EL helped me to my feet.
“I’m so sorry,” he blathered, then something about how he’d hit a bump and the disc had come somewhere and then he hit the ramp and there was flying and then the obvious crashing and pain and he was so very sorry. He brushed snow off of my coat, then looking at me anxiously again. “Are you okay?”
I grinned, still attempting to recover my breath. “That was fun!” I wheezed. Someone had retrieved my lost mitten and EL handed it to me. “I think I won,” I said more clearly.
“I’ll let you have it this time,” he said, apparently immensely relieved that I wasn’t comatose. “You’re sure you’re okay?”
I nodded. “Just got the breath knocked out of me.”
Oh yes, and it was thus I thought, until I attempted to get up this morning and every vertebra from my shoulders down shrieked in pain and declared it a snow day altogether.
And so, I have added another thing to my list of Epically Stupid Things To Do: attempt to sled-race an ex-linebacker. Sorry EL.

*I guess in actuality, there is a forth, commonly termed as *death*.

Army of Lovers – Crucified

If I had a billion dollars, this is what would happen when I wake up in the morning: tiny pianos, Italian women, spontaneous bathtubs, dancing and singing. The only change would be substantially less patent leather codpieces. Yes.

Muppets – Bohemian Rhapsody

This wins everything I have.

I highly recommend checking out the other videos by Muppets Studio.  Hilarious!

No love handles, no love

I was at the grocery store the other day, getting the weekly groceries. I was standing in line behind three guys who looked like they were in their early twenties. I was paging through a magazine, not really paying any attention, when I noticed one of the guys wearing a “No Fat Chicks” shirt. I think I kind of frowned, but had turned back to the magazine when I heard him say something.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“You know you want it,” he said, apparently incredibly full of himself, stroking his chest and grinning at me.

I feel though I may have raised an eyebrow, but I’m not sure. I did say, calmly, “I’d rather light my face on fire.”

Apparently his friends found this funny. So funny the guy ended up walking out of the store, pretending he had to make a phone call to his girlfriend.

I understand that a lot of people buy into the whole perfectly-thin thing, six-pack, can’t-eat-any-carbs, must-be-super-fit mentality. It’s an aesthetic. But it’s not the only aesthetic.

Frankly, I think I should get a shirt that says “No Skinny Guys.” Despite it being tacky, I don’t see why I shouldn’t proclaim my preference where everyone can see (well, I do know, and it’s that thing called tact, but who cares about that anymore?). Maybe “No Love Handles, No Love.” I come by that preference honestly, too – I like some fluff. I don’t care what Kevin Smith looks like in a bathrobe, I could just eat him with a spoon. Adam Richman on Man Vs. Food? Yum. I tell you, there are just not enough slightly-fluffy-yet-masculine men on television. They all eventually go the way of curvy actresses: super-exercise, the excuse of “the perpetual flu”, then it’s Trimspa and a downward spiral from there until you end up unrecognizable, with multiple plastic surgeries and having your own “reality show” that gets cancelled after two episodes air.

As my Hungarian grandmother said, “If you have a bit of fluff, all it says is that you enjoy your steak with dessert.” And if you knew what kind of dessert my Hungarian grandmother could make, you’d eat it too.

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